Making time and nature a priority

My family and I have recently returned from a glorious 2-week camping vacation in Glacier National Park (http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm). If you have not visited, it is one to add to your bucket list.

I am desperately clinging to the feeling of hiking in the park, with no worries beyond what we had in our daypacks for lunch. But why do I need this feeling of space, of release, so badly in my daily life? How is it that I have allowed my life to become so cluttered up with activities and stress that I must constantly seek relief from it all?

Courtney Carver of Be More With Less has this to say on the subject: http://bemorewithless.com/7-ways-to-prevent-the-need-to-unwind/.

So I am asking myself: what can I let go of? How can I simplify my life further in order to allow for the spaciousness I am craving?

This will be a work in progress.

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The Reality of Human Trafficking

There are realities in this life that are ugly, fierce and revolting. One of these is the issue of human trafficking around the world and in the US. I am grateful to Heather Armstrong at dooce.com for bringing the issue to my attention through a group called The Exodus Road. You can read more about the problem here: The Exodus Road on human trafficking in the US.

I hope I can do some good in this lifetime. I will be praying for this organization and the victims they rescue. I will pray for an end to the outrageous practice of human trafficking.

 

Because we all have issues we are afraid of

Heather Armstrong is a well-known blogger (perhaps one of the MOST well-known). Heather’s honesty is no secret to her readers. She is a good writer and has a very personal point of view about, oh, every topic she covers. I don’t always agree with her, but I always respect her perspective and her willingness to explore so much of what life throws at her. I enjoy her blog a great deal in general, but this? This truly deserves to be read and shared: http://dooce.com/2014/06/12/i-have-words/

Nice work, Heather. Thank you for raising my awareness about two very important issues.

 

 

$100 to keep my home, family and myself clean (and moisturized!)

Washing Hands Under Faucet

I’ve been experimenting with natural, non-toxic substitutes for my personal and home care for about the past six months. While I’ve been trying lots of different products and combinations, I think I could set up a kit to take care of my family, my home and myself for less than $100! Here’s what my kit would contain (prices are what I paid last time I bought them) and what I already use these products for:

Apple cider vinegar ($4/32 oz., store-brand):

  • all-purpose cleaner (showers/tubs, glass, mirror)
  • hair rinse

Dr. Bronner’s unscented castile soap ($17/32 oz.):

  • all-purpose cleaner for just about everything if it is diluted enough, including dishes
  • body wash and shampoo
  • laundry detergent (not the best but it can do the job)
  • toothpaste (OK, I don’t use it for this right now, but it would work)

Avocado oil ($14/16-oz.):

  • moisturizer
  • shaving cream

Jojoba oil ($16/8 oz.):

  • hair conditioner
  • moisturizer

Lavender essential oil ($12.50/.5 oz.):

  • treatment for a host of skin conditions including rosacea and acne
  • perfume
  • sleep aid
  • amazing additive for moisturizing oil
  • air freshener

Tea tree essential oil ($8.50/.5 oz):

  • treatment for more skin conditions than I can list including acne
  • antiviral and antibacterial for small wound care
  • great for dandruff and athlete’s foot
  • deodorant

Peppermint essential oil ($9/.5 oz):

  • helps with stuffy noses and headaches
  • air freshener (especially good for bathrooms!)
  • mosquito repellant

Microfiber cleaning cloths ($6/3-pack):

  • clean EVERYTHING with these – every brand I have ever used has worked well enough

The grand total: $87! Yep, that’s it. All I need to keep my family clean and my home shiny. With the leftover $13, I would buy some baking soda, which I already keep in my kitchen anyway, and I would hope to finally find a non-toxic SPF solution for my family (I’m thinking of making a cream using zinc).

I can guarantee that my family would complain a LOT if I actually did this to them! Yet, it would work wonderfully and we would all be a lot less toxic personally and for the sake of our environment.

What about you? Leave a comment: Could you take care of all of life’s essentials for under $100? Am I missing anything really important in my list?

 

 

Travel experiment: no disposable cups

travel mug

I travel quite a bit for work. Recently, I realized I have a habit of using a lot of “disposable” cups while I travel. As a rule, I rarely use disposable cups at my desk and at home. I think the environmental impact of throwing away cups is ugly at best, and even using a paper cup that will be recycled means it still has to be manufactured in the first place. So, I decided to challenge myself on my most recent trip: could I possibly fly, drive and stay in hotels without using a single disposable cup? I am happy to report I succeeded! Plus, it was actually surprisingly painless. Here is what I learned:

  • I carried a travel coffee mug to use as my all-purpose cup. I took one that was not very valuable, just in case I should lose it.
  • My mug of choice had a handle which I could use to attach to my shoulder bag. I happen to have a bag with a removable strap, so I just unclipped it and slipped my (empty) mug on. I could just as easily have used a carabiner-type clip to attach my mug, though.
  • I put my mug inside my bag in public restrooms. (Ick!)
  • I washed my mug out using whatever soap was available. The only time I ran into a problem was in a restroom with no paper towels, so I just let the mug drip dry as I walked around.
  • My mug did not fit under the spout of the coffee maker in my hotel room. So I brewed the coffee into a glass and poured it into my mug.

Will I do this again? You bet! I estimate I avoided using at least 10 disposable cups (next time I will try to remember to keep count). This was really simple and it is a habit I could get into.

For my next challenge, maybe I will try to avoid using paper towels at work. I guess I could take a dish towel in and hang it on the back of my office door to dry…